ComForCare Home Care Serving Somerset & Northern Middlesex Countries

Posts Tagged Caregivers

Caregiving During Covid-19

Monday , November 30 , 2020

Caregiving During Covid-19

Family caregiving is a satisfying, worthwhile job, but it can also be stressful and demanding.

With Covid-19 in the mix, caregiving can become an overwhelming task for already stressed family members.

In addition to the usual stress and anxiety, caregivers experiencing burnout may experience extreme emotions, including depression, anger, and resentment.

As a caregiver, taking care of your mental health and overall wellbeing are important, especially during these unprecedented times.

Keep reading for some easy, realistic ways you can take care of yourself now and throughout your caregiving journey:

Reduce the Risk of Getting Coronavirus

Covid-19, like any serious illness, can add a lot of stress and worry to a caregiving situation. To help keep you and your loved ones safe, use the following CDC-recommended protocol:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Wear a mask that securely covers your nose and mouth
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from others and avoid crowds
  • Monitor your health daily – watch for fever, cough, and other common symptoms
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in your home often

Take Care of Yourself

You know that old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy?”

The same is true of caregiving. If you’re not happy, healthy, and well, the person you care for will also suffer.

There are several simple, convenient things you can do to help keep yourself well throughout the year. These are our suggestions:

  • Maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to fall into an unhealthy routine. However, maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating well, getting regular exercise, and keeping a normal sleep schedule can help boost your physical and mental well-being.
  • Limit stress. Put the kibosh on stress by limiting your time on social media, avoiding upsetting news stories, and limiting contact with negative people. Instead, try spending time outdoors, connecting with loved ones, or taking up a new hobby like meditation or yoga.
  • Improve sleep. As a caregiver, sleep is often the last priority. Unfortunately, lack of rest leaves you more vulnerable to both physical and mental health afflictions. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day and take measure to improve rest such as using a white noise machine or taking a melatonin supplement.
  • Take breaks. Taking a long break may be an impossibility during your day. Instead, try to take several mini breaks when you can to help relieve stress and improve focus. Some suggestions include a quick walk around the block, sitting down for a cup of tea or a snack, watch a few minutes of cute animal videos on YouTube, or call a friend for a quick conversation.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. While everyone’s lives are different, we’re all going through this pandemic together. Reach out to friends and family who are familiar with your situation when you’re feeling too stressed or consider joining a caregiver support group.

Watch for Signs of Burnout 

Caregiver burnout can happen at any time, in any relationship, but the risk is heightened during times of increased stress like the current pandemic.

Be aware of sign and symptoms such as:

  • Overwhelming anxiety
  • Increased fatigue
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Difficulty completing everyday tasks

If you suspect that you may be suffering from caregiver burnout, consider making more time for yourself. Ask a friend or family member for help if possible, or contact ComForCare for more information about our respite services.

Posted in: Caregivers

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Happy Home Care Aide Week!

Monday , November 9 , 2020

Happy Home Care Aide Week!

Every November, the home care community honors the millions of home care aides, nurses, therapists, and social workers who make a difference for the patients and families they serve.

This week, November 9 – 13, we recognize home care aides in particular. At ComForCare, our aides play an invaluable role to our clients as caregivers, companions, and friends. They choose to use their lives to serve our community’s aged, disabled, and dying. In these unprecedented times, more than ever before, they are heroes.

Here’s a little more about what they do every day:

What is Home Care? 

Home care includes a wide range of professional services, such as medical or social support, that allow a person to live safely in their home. These services are provided by nurses, home health aides, therapists, and more.

No work is nobler, and no group is more deserving of our respect and admiration. Their goal is helping society’s weakest members live the fullest lives they can. By marrying high tech with high touch, home care professionals and volunteers allow patients to get care at home where they can be with the ones they love.” – The National Association for Home Care & Hospice

The focus of home care is often helping someone who is aging and needs assistance to live independently, is recuperating from an illness or injury, or is managing chronic health issues.

The services are almost always a more budget-friendly option than high-cost institutional care that would be provided in a nursing facility.

Why Use Home Health Care?

When it comes time to choose how to help a loved one care for themselves, the decision can be a difficult one. How will you know what’s right for them (and everyone else involved)?

We’ve found that often, people both young and old prefer to receive care at home.

  • Most individuals are more comfortable at home, surrounded by family and friends who can offer emotional support
  • Home care allows for a more personal relationship with the caregiver
  • Clients can remain independent, rather than hand over all control to nursing home professionals
  • In home care is typically less expensive than nursing facilities or hospitals 

What is the Role of a Home Aide? 

A home aide provides basic services such as medication reminders, transportation to and from appointments, meal planning and preparation, and family respite. They travel to the client’s own home. Often, their assistance is a big part of what allows the person to continue living in their own home.

Duties provided by a home aide vary depending on the needs of the client. Examples include:

  • Light housekeeping tasks such as washing dishes, vacuuming, and folding laundry
  • Transportation for errands, appointments, and social outings
  • Healthy and delicious meals cooked right in the client’s own kitchen
  • Safety supervision and fall risk assessment
  • Ensure all medication is taken at the correct time every day

Celebrating Our Home Health Aides 

All of us at ComForCare Home Care join in applauding and thanking home care aides everywhere for the amazing work they do. These workers are some of the most dedicated and compassionate health care providers in the field. No less than doctors, nurses or first responders, HHAs save lives.

Thank you, home care aides! Your work is vital.

Posted in: Home Care

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60 Fun Activities for Dementia Patients and Their Caregivers

Monday , October 12 , 2020

60 Fun Activities for Dementia Patients and Their Caregivers

Being a family caregiver is a highly rewarding experience, but it can be challenging at times. Caregivers of dementia patients, especially, can feel like they work and work and work and don’t make a difference.

That doesn’t have to be the case.

Part of being a great caregiver is learning about activities that will help engage someone who has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s, regardless of the level of the disease. Staying active and engaged is beneficial for both physical and cognitive health and can help ease anxious or aggressive behaviors. On top of that, activities done together can help form a bond of trust and security between the caregiver and their loved one.

Of course, many caregivers are thrown into the role by chance and have no formal training or education.

If you’re like the millions of other adults unexpectedly caring for an older friend or family member, you likely have no idea which activities are appropriate for a dementia patient and which are not.

To help keep you and your loved one busy and engaged, we’ve rounded up a list of 60 meaningful activities you can take part in together. Keep reading to learn more:

 

Planning Dementia Friendly Activities 

Where is a good place to begin when planning activities for a loved one with dementia? A good rule is to meet them where they are. Some good guidelines include:

  • Avoid pointing out what they can no longer do. Focus on options that compensate for skills they may have lost. For example, if your loved one can no longer read, try browsing together for audio books that they might enjoy. Use a computer or phone?
  • Keep track of skills and abilities. Keeping track of the skills and abilities as they deteriorate is vital. Can your loved one able to go to the grocery store and shop? Can they plan and cook a simple meal?
  • Be aware of physical limitations. Many older adults, not just those with dementia, suffer from changes to hearing, eyesight, flexibility, and more. Some physical limitations may require modifications to activities so they are still suitable.
  • Plan appropriate social events. People with dementia often feel anxious or overwhelmed in large gatherings or an unfamiliar environment. Try to set up gatherings with smaller groups or in a 1-to-1 setting to keep things comfortable.
  • Focus on enjoyment not success. What does your loved one find entertaining? Find activities that they naturally enjoy and lose your preconceived notions of how it “should” be done to alleviate stress.

5 Fun Activities for Someone with Dementia 

Keeping in mind that every dementia patient has different preferences and abilities, there are some activities that will likely be enjoyed by all. Some accommodation may be required, but here are some of our favorites:

  • Teach the Caregiver: Ask your loved one to teach you something he/she loves to do and/or an activity he/she has known or done for such a long time that they still remember it. Have them demonstrate a skill he/she can still do through “muscle memory,” such as tell you about what life was like in the past or something he/she is passionate about. Your loved one may need to show you, versus tell you, a story, depending upon their language abilities. Encourage this method of storytelling.
  • Read a Book Together: Read a book to your loved one. Let them pick the topic area. Pick one with emotional and sensory content to help with comprehension. Short chapters and a great plot help, too.
  • Hand Massage: Reduces anxiety, perception of pain and difficult behaviors. Begin by covering your loved one’s hands with a wet, warm washcloth for a minute. Massage using a scented cream or lotion they enjoy. Lavender is a good scent as it is both stimulating and relaxing. Always be gentle – older adults’ skin can bruise easily. Follow this protocol: http://www.ecarediary.com/viewblog.aspx?BlogID=620
  • Sniff the Spices: Select up to five herbs and spices from your loved one’s kitchen and ask, “I want to learn more about these spices. Can you teach me? Let’s smell them together.” Smell them one at a time. Imagine together what kinds of foods they would go with. Ask if they remember using these spices in dishes served during holidays and family gatherings.
  • I Made a Difference: In what way has your loved one made a difference to others such as his/her spouse, children, parents, siblings, friends, community, co-workers? How did they contribute to their field of work? This is an important part of life review and can help self-esteem and life satisfaction. Share the ways you’ve made a difference, too, if this is helpful and acceptable to both of you.

By being aware of your loved one’s interests and capabilities, you can build a list of activities that will keep them engaged and encouraged. For our full list of 60 Meaningful Activities to do With Dementia Patients, please contact us at (908) 927-0500 or email us here.

Posted in: Dementia

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